The local Republican party needs hope right now. After two cycles of wipe outs we have a new party chairman, and with the changing of the guard comes an opportunity to change tactics. Will new tactics lead to better results? Who knows, but what we do know is it would be difficult to be worse. Not only are has there been a wipe out county wide the last two cycles, but as Marc McCaig’s recent piece points out even state house seats that should have been held were lost. The voters narrowly decided it was time to try something new. This brings about the question of what new action can be taken to try and gain better results?
Initially, two things come to mind. First, the County Party needs to take a step back and focus on helping the candidates this cycle. No message is going to cut through the chaos of mail in ballots, Covid, Trump/Biden. It’s simply not going to happen, so don’t try and come up with a lame-o message like Harris works. The candidates know what is best for their races. Stand ready in the background and offer assistance where needed.
Who knows how the mail in balloting is going to shake out, and who knows what impact the end of straight ticket voting will produce. The wisest thing the party can do is seek and mobilize volunteers to be at the ready to help candidates at the direction of the candidates. In the end, the candidates will win or lose, and the party health follows. This volunteer recruitment and mobilization not only gets people involved now, but it also has some carry over into the next cycle when the chance at victory in some county wide races is higher.
This better opportunity next cycle is the second area where the party needs to start focusing on the long term planning. The easiest targets are the criminal judges, DeSean Jones in particular, who are letting violent, dangerous, individuals go free with no or minimal bond. Judge Jones isn’t the only one letting violent criminals free. Ramona Franklin also has a history of releasing killers on bond, sometimes with fatal consequences. This is an issue that will resonate county wide and will drive a wedge in the democratic party come election time.
The issue isn’t solely with the judges that are up for reelection next cycle. The problem starts with DA Ogg’s office. In the most recent case of bond to murder we have an individual who was out on bond, but also had been arrested 67 times. That lengthy arrest history speaks of a priority breakdown in the DA’s office. The internal friction also gives light to that misplaced priorities.
The DA’s office was recently in the midst of an internal investigation of who leaked a Covid document. This investigation continued despite the person who leaked the information coming forward. Resolution of the issue was not enough to stop Ogg’s misplaced priorities. Unfailing loyalty isn’t a good trait in the DA’s office. This is especially true in an age where at least a segment of the bench does not seem to care about public safety.
A test run of the crime message can be used this cycle against Ogg. If that gains any traction it sets the stage for beating that drum for the next two years, and forces the wedge in play during the primaries two years from now in the democratic primaries. Any vote splintering is beneficial for Republicans.
With new leadership and a message that resonates the county party has a clear path forward. Start mobilizing volunteers now to help with the immediate races, and use this cycle to test messaging for next cycle. We have the opportunity to start turning the tide. The question is can the party stop infighting long enough to do so.